At the Monday Council Meeting, held Oct. 17, Community Forum section, I made a presentation concerning the Wastewater and Water Assessments on Undeveloped Properties (vacant lots). I requested that the Agenda Item 2(B) from the Aug. 15, council meeting, which was tabled indefinitely, because it was repugnant to a councilor, be included on a future council meeting agenda for further discussion.
The reason for my recommendation is that I consider this request for council consideration to be vital source revenue to support the utility wastewater and water plant expansion and upgrades. To continue to burden the present rate payers to cover these cost are unreasonable. The wastewater and water facilities are being built to satisfy the needs of a fully built out city. This was a decision made by past and present councilors.’
The city already charged a wastewater assessment to vacant lots in the STRP districts and to not charge a wastewater assessment to vacant lots in pre-STRP district is unfair and inconceivable. There is merit to charging vacant lots a water assessment for the reason stated above, facility being built to satisfy the needs for a fully built out city.
We have a city north of us, Cape Coral, which is dealing with similar problems as Marco Island. Coincidently, they have the same independent expert consultant as Marco Island, Burton and Associates. Burton made several recommendations to the City of Cape Coral, which correlates with those made on Marco Island. One option was to hook up north Cape Coral onto the city’s water and sewer system. The more users on the system, the more people paying bills, and therefore, lower prices.
At the same time, residents in north Cape Coral who use wells and septic tanks would have to pay assessments to the city for the construction and hook up to the water and sewer system.
This did not work well for the City of Marco Island, since prices continue to increase.
Another option is what has been dubbed the “infill assessment.” This is the same as Marco Island’s Wastewater and Water Assessment on Vacant lots. The Burton Report says this idea would keep rates stagnant for several years. The realities are such that when you take on a massive project as Marco Island has, you must develop a strategy to fairly assess all property owners who will benefit from the project in the short term and the long term.
This methodology is not unique to Marco Island, as described above, as being a viable vehicle to fund the expansion and upgrades to the facilities. I implore this council to incorporate this item on a near future council agenda to help stabilize or minimize future Utility Rate Increases.